In talking publicly about HIV, the President should vigorously speak out against HIV-related discrimination and condemn prejudice based on race/ethnicity and sexual orientation, which damage our efforts to combat AIDS. The President should strongly and visibly oppose any amendments to HIV-related legislation that are designed to divide the American people along lines of sexual orientation, substance use history, race/ethnicity, or other factors.
The President has spoken out against HIV-related discrimination throughout his term. He was eloquent in his response to Senator Jesse Helms's divisive tactics during the Ryan White CARE Act debate. The President has most recently endorsed passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. All enforcement arms of the Administration have been working effectively and collaboratively in challenging HIV-related discrimination.
The Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are vigorously enforcing provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act that prohibit discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. The EEOC has received more than 900 charges alleging employment discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS and has resolved 789 charges, obtaining monetary benefits of over $6.1 million to the affected parties. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has taken action on nearly 20 complaints of denial of care by health care facilities or providers to persons with HIV/AIDS, and new efforts are being made to address discrimination in nursing homes.
Assessment of the Response/Action To Be Taken
The President is to be commended for his clear and vocal leadership in speaking against HIV-related discrimination. Strong antidiscrimination efforts and vigorous condemnation of prejudice-based discrimination must be continued.